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Poster: Tom Gally Date: Dec 22, 2010 8:23pm
Forum: texts Subject: IA texts on iPad

A while back, I posted here a wish-list and some comments about reading Internet Archive texts on tablet computers such as the Apple iPad. Thanks to some advice I received here, I think I have now realized the nearly ideal reading experience for IA texts, and I'd like to share it with you. The comments below apply specifically only to my set-up (an iPad with a MobileMe account with books managed on a Macintosh computer), but most are probably adaptable to other portable readers, such as the Kindle, Nook, and others yet to be released.

First of all, I have no big problem with reading on computer screens--I do it for hours a day, most days--but I find it difficult to concentrate on long texts, such as novels or narrative nonfiction, when reading off a computer. Tablets are much better for that purpose.

Second, there are some issues with reading IA texts on tablets. While the recently improved in-browser reader is great for what it does, it requires an always-on Internet connection, which I often don't have when commuting. The lack of persistent bookmarks and any library-organizing function make it less than ideal for reading books.

Files downloaded from IT have several problems as well. Most of the PDFs do not display properly on the iPad (apparently because of an issue with the JPEG compression system used in the PDF files), and those that do are very slow to appear on the screen when pages are turned. The DVJU files are much lighter, but there are not yet any programs for displaying DJVU files full-screen on the iPad. (There are some iPhone applications that can do the job in 2X mode, but they lack a lot of desirable features. The Stanza application can convert DJVU to PDFs internally, but the resulting files are huge and the application sometimes crashes and loses data.)

Based on some suggestions I received here, the solution I've found for reading a scanned IT book on my iPad is the following:

(1) Download the book's DJVU file from the link under "All Files: HTTP."

(2) Open the downloaded file using the freeware DjView application.

(3) In DjView, export the file as a PDF, setting the PDF options to around 150 dpi and the JPEG quality to about 85%. (Higher resolution and quality don't seem to be necessary, and they can slow down performance considerably.)

(4) Add the resulting PDF file to iTunes on the computer that is synced to the iPad, and sync the iPad to the computer.

(5) Read the books on the iPad using the iBooks application.

With a (nonfree) MobileMe account, the books, bookmarks, current reading location, and book collections can be synced automatically among multiple iPads, iPhones, and iPad Touches (though not yet with a regular computer).

With scanned books that started out with not-too-large page sizes and not-too-small type, the reading experience is wonderful--I feel as though I am sitting in the depths of a university library somewhere immersed in an obscure but fascinating book I've discovered when in fact I am on a crowded commuter train between Yokohama and Tokyo, Japan. Many, many thanks to all the people at the Internet Archive and the cooperating libraries who have helped to make this possible.

Just as reference, some of the books I've read or am now reading in this way are:

"Life and Adventures of Israel Ralph Potter"

"London Characters and the Humorous Side of London Life"

"Sporting Anecdotes"

"The Evolution of English Lexicography"

I look forward to reading hundreds more.

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Poster: Gordon B Date: Oct 23, 2013 6:28am
Forum: texts Subject: Re: IA texts on iPad

Could you please explicate more how to export DJVU to PDF ( I have WinDjView freeware installed).

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Poster: Tom Gally Date: Oct 23, 2013 4:03pm
Forum: texts Subject: Re: IA texts on iPad

I'm afraid I don't have Windows, so I can't confirm how to do it on that version. On the Macintosh version available from

there is a menu item "Export as...." A window pops up giving options about the format of the exported file (there are many options in addition to PDF) and the resolution and JPEG size of exported PDFs. Clicking "Ok" [sic] starts the conversion process.

Though nearly three years have passed since I posted the original note, I continue to convert and read IA texts more or less as I described. I have tried some other Mac software for converting DJVU files to PDFs, but the resulting PDF files were enormous and unusable, so I still use the program linked above.

The main difference is that I now usually use a Japanese iOS app called iBunko HD for reading books in PDF format, as it has some cropping and other options that I find useful both for IA books and for books that I have scanned myself. iBooks presumably still works, and GoodReader is another option for iOS.

I haven't recently tried reading any IA text PDFs (i.e., PDFs downloaded directly from IA, not ones I have converted from DJVU files) on my iPad, as the last time I did so the page turning was still much too slow for practical use. I will probably get an iPad Air when they are released next month, and I will try reading some IA PDFs on that.

There are also some iPad applications for reading DJVU files directly, but the ones I tried seemed buggy and slow. You might want to check if any usable DJVU readers are available through the iOS app store.

Perhaps someone who uses an Android or other non-Apple tablet could post about how to read IA texts on them.

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Poster: Gordon B Date: Oct 24, 2013 3:38am
Forum: texts Subject: Re: IA texts on iPad

I look forward to your checking out the iPad Air once it's released. Do you happen to know what forums could provide an in-depth experience of reading on tablet PCs such book scans as are available at the Internet Archive? I posted one IA-related question at ask ubuntu, but they do not give product recommendation answers, so I am somewhat stuck.
I house a well of IA e-books in PDF on my desktop PC, amounting to several hundred GB. I do require a portable device that would grant me access to my PDFs from whatever location I need. In this conncetion, I have to possess a thorough intelligence before taking decisions to obtain one.

I also look forward to your further posts. Thank you for replying, by the bye - frankly, I did not expect you would.

Reply [edit]

Poster: Tom Gally Date: Oct 24, 2013 6:29pm
Forum: texts Subject: Re: IA texts on iPad

Thank *you* for your reply. I will definitely post a note here after I get an iPad Air to report whether it is fast enough for reading PDFs downloaded directly from the Internet Archive (without going through the convert-from-DVJU process that I described earlier in this thread).

I am afraid that I don't know of any other forums for discussing the issues that you (and I) are interested in. For some reason, the amazing book resources of the Internet Archive are not nearly as widely known and appreciated as they should be. I am an academic, and I have often been surprised to discover that many of my colleagues--including some specializing in fields such as 19th century English literature, for which IA is an amazing resource--haven't even heard of it.

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Poster: Gordon B Date: Oct 25, 2013 12:13pm
Forum: texts Subject: Re: IA texts on iPad

Same with me. I am friends with the Archive already three years (soon after my first initial steps of e-book downloading and it has been my staple ever since, outbeating Project Gutenberg - I rarely tap into the latter). Myself am a super junior (meaning I took a two year's leave due to illness and resumed studies this year) at Vilnius University - English philologist - and am deeply indebted to the IA for working deeds of charity for a cinch - I can't stop wondering how dedicated and generous some American people can be, and above all mindful of the needs of modern education, taste, love for books and the gemstone knowledge stored therein. My computer is a veritable digital library - although it has not exceeded the humanities fields of literature (I would like to read Wilde's The Soul of Man on a tablet PC, by the bye) as well as the spiritual realm - I have recently been converted to faith by revelation (all of which, if you have time and desire, I will eagerly relate in further posts) - and the experience of the Holy Fathers is sacred to me, apart from many Orthodox exegetical works I wish to peruse. A tablet PC with fast and efficient reading opportuinites, in such a case, would be a brilliant solution I have been yearning for for quite a while already, so your responses - those that would shed light on the issues related - are a trove beyond measure to me. I hope to establish a close mutual tie with you on the question of tablet PCs in IA e-book reading experience. Yours truly, Daniel
This post was modified by Gordon B on 2013-10-25 19:13:33

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Poster: Gordon B Date: Oct 25, 2013 12:52pm
Forum: texts Subject: Re: IA texts on iPad

Dear Tom, Recently I have discovered a curious site which holds modern publications, or sometimes IA ones. Quite good, too, and also seems to crave for a tablet. All in all, I stand in utter necessity for a good, swift, powerful tablet, and I do not know, although more convincingly I have been advised to come by an iPad, which - Windows-driven or Android-type - I should use. The Samsung line seems more of a blue chip in terms of power, but the parameter ratio of iPads appears well-rigged after all particularly for such colourful books, although not so high-res as that. There is a delay of several seconds on iPads I have had checked out for me so far, so that this option still begs improvement. Also, do you happen to know what software and hardware loads up maximum pages per time-span (lest I should like to jump to a certain page not in a row, which then usually doesn't load)? With respect to exegesis, I am studying Theophan the Recluse's Commentary on St Paul's Epistle to the Romans (the saint commentator makes use of John Chrysostom's and Theodoret's, as well as Theophylact of Ohrid's commentaries on the go) - and I have downloaded so many spiritaul works from (I read them chiefly in Russian, although English ones from other sites such as IA, as well as A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, taken from, do well, too) that if only I buy a tablet there would also be a need to obtain a NAS box - but tell me, please, if you happen to know, does the Internet connectivity detain you greatly in reading from online sources? I have come to like our communication by now, even though exchanges haven't been numerous. I am all agog to receive answer updates from you anytime you can so much as type a few lines and click on 'post'. Yours ever, Daniel
This post was modified by Gordon B on 2013-10-25 19:52:34

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Poster: Tom Gally Date: Oct 25, 2013 11:12pm
Forum: texts Subject: Re: IA texts on iPad

Many thanks for the reply. I will be sure to post more about the usability of the iPad Air after I get one. In the meantime, if you find any useful information about reading Internet Archive books on tablets (either Apple or otherwise), please post it here.

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Poster: Gordon B Date: Nov 10, 2013 1:53pm
Forum: texts Subject: Re: IA texts on iPad

So how about managing to try IA on IA? (excuse me for the pun, Internet Archive on iPad Air) Have you been able to lay your hands on the newly-emerged apparatus? If so, how did it work with high-res PDFs? Still begging improvement? Or if not, i. e. you couldn't yet look it all up, when - in a sooner while or later one - will you be able to? I am all agog, you see. Besides, they have recommended me at Skytech to come by an iPad - judging by the kind of requirements I imposed - this, you see, in connection with the reading specs you alreday know, the assistant at the store told me. Also, but perhaps beside the point, I was given advice as to the obtaining of a NAS box (Network-Attached Storage) in order to make up for the shortage of on-tablet harddisk memory - but I am still wondering if it won't curb the loadup output withal and have therefore certain doubts thereabout. Are you versed in these kinds of problem? Still, this is but a secondary consideration in comparison to the preeminent and overwhelming primary one, a priority really, of on-the-clik, fast, swift and whatever else good epithet you may stick to it, representation of high-res (whether illustrated or not) colourful scanned e-book pages - without the need to wait for the page to loud up. Otherwise, if this consideration is not met, whatever the price and device, it will all eventually turn out to be a mere waste of resources, good for nothing, hapless and pathetic. I have had certain disappointments in my life not to wish for another in the line to come at me... I await your kind and considerate answer, hoping not to intrude on you too much, I remain Yours ever so humble and obedient, and, hopefully, affectionate a servant in fee and homage and tribute to thee, D. P.
This post was modified by Gordon B on 2013-11-10 21:51:56
This post was modified by Gordon B on 2013-11-10 21:53:12

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Poster: Gordon B Date: Nov 27, 2013 1:02pm
Forum: texts Subject: Re: IA texts on iPad

Actually off-topic here, but I thought you might enter into my shoes, as it were, and feel a certain fastidious indignation: the IA has - at least in my case - changed somewhat the design by contracting paragraph lines of descriptions appended to book scans - now all the pages of IA house this detestable compression of lines. Is there any way to navigate this issue and re-build so congenially-looking paragraphs next to scan screensavers?